Studded Ankle Strap Flats

Ankle strap shoes are the up and coming shoe shape.  While there are many high-heeled options, I can't help  but be drawn to the ankle strap flat.  So when I stumbled upon this pair for less than $20, I was intrigued to say the least.

I would mix these flats with some of the new additions in my wardrobe.  For some reason I love the look of an ankle strap with a pant.  I know it sort of defeats the purpose, but I like it anyway.  In addition to loving these affordable flats, I also love the affordable handbag featured below.  Tassels rule.

Ankle Strap Flats

Forever21 Chunky Ribbed Knit Sweater $22.80  //  H&M Trousers [sold out]  //  ELLE Ankle Boots $26.99  //   ALDO Eskeets Handbag $50  //  Forever21 Rhinestoned Stacked Rings $2.99  //  Forever21 Luxe Stone Necklace $9.80  //  Juicy Couture Pave Earrings [sold out]  //  Marc by Marc Jacobs Cat Eye Sunglasess [sold out]  // Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey $15  //  OPI Lincoln Park After Dark $8.50


Thanksgiving Tradition

One of my favorite things to do Thanksgiving morning is scroll through my email and check out all the online offers pre-Black Friday.

My two newest obsessions are the revamped [J.Crew Factory website] and outerwear.

I have been eyeing this coat for some time and almost bought it at 30% off:

Lo and behold Thanksgiving morning it was 40% off plus another 15%, so I ended up saving over $100.  I am thankful for super savings!

I love the color, collar and waistline.  In my opinion, outerwear is one of the most critical elements of a wardrobe.  A well-fitted coat makes any outfit look awesome with little to no effort.  That is why I always look for a coat with a defined waist.  A defined waist creates a feminine silhouette and keeps the coat from looking like a tent.  I just hope when it arrives I love it as much in-person.  Fingers crossed.

How perfect is [this outfit]?  I am sure this will lead me on a hunt for a cobalt blue turtleneck.


Beauty Buy #11: Clinique Black Honey

I know that I am pretty late to the Black Honey game as this shade from Clinique is consistently a best-seller. As [mentioned earlier], burgundy is the en vogue color of the moment which also includes beauty. Burgundy, berry, merlot and all shades in between have been on every celeb and runway this season.

Charlize Theron

Here is the thing.  I am very pale and do not need to look more washed out / ghost-like than I already do when my version of a "tan" fades.  I received a tip that Black Honey Almost Lipstick is a subtle way to wear the burgundy lip trend without too much drama.  I have been pleased thus far with the results and enjoy the consistency of this almost lipstick.  It has color but is sheer enough to make it appropriate for daytime wear.  Most important, it does not wash me out or make me look like a vamp.


I stumbled upon Black Honey on a trend search but I can see why it is so popular.  It is a universally flattering shade even for those who typically do not like a bold lip.  I would recommend it to anyone looking for an updated look and might be interested in trying a trend without going overboard.  When burgundy has come and gone, you will still find yourself wearing your Black Honey.


1 Burgundy Sweater / 2 Outfits Under $100

I saw this sweater at Forever21 and have been pondering its versatility ever since.

I love the texture of the sweater because it feels slightly vintage...not to mention burgundy is the color of the season.  I have a gold lame dress I think this sweater would be interesting with when paired with tough boots or evening shoes.

As any responsible CC would do, I started to think of other stylish ways I could work this sweater into my wardrobe prior to purchase.  I came up with the following 2 outfits each under $100.  (Jeans not included because everyone has a pair in their closet...technically I think I could say the same for black tights but I had some dough to spare in the second outfit.)

2 Outfits / 1 Burgundy Sweater

Two of the items in my closet getting the most mileage are my [leopard flats] and [chunky rhinestone necklace].  They add the perfect edgy detail to an otherwise basic sweater and jeans.  And how cute is this [earring set] for $4?  Of course I love the spotted pair but peach and burgundy would make for an interesting color combo.

For a dressier look I would start with this funky dress.  Mirror image prints such as this dress are a huge trend right now.  I love a body con dress like this...not for me to wear on its own (please)...but layered under sweaters and jackets.  I would wear this burgundy sweater over the dress with very necessary thick, black tights and either [black booties] or my black motorcycle boots circa last year.  The finishing detail would be these [neon rhinestone earrings], the hottest trend in jewelry.

For $23, you cannot beat this sweater's style or versatility.  I look forward to more outfits with this burgundy bargain.


Leopard Dilemma

Awhile back I came across this InStyle feature and decided leopard print pants were a must-add to my wardrobe.

Believe it or not it has been hard to find the perfect pair of leopard print pants.  I want a fancier pant that I can dress up or down and wear-to-work versus a pair that is more jean-like. Dilemmas I know! The good news is I have come across two affordable pairs that I think will be incredibly versatile.  Now how to decide which pair?

Leopard Dilemma
[Leopard Dilemma // Merona Skinny Leg Pant at Target // Loft Zoe Ankle Pant (n/a online)]

Obviously for $28, you cannot beat the price of the Target pair but they are lighter than what I was looking for and appear to have a 5-pocket style which I was hoping to avoid.  I love the Loft pair and think they could be exactly what I want despite technically being "dalmatian print."  I am mad at myself because I tried to play the sale waiting game and hoped that the Loft pair would get a second markdown and my size would still be available.  Now my local Loft is sold out of my size.  Wah.

Turns out I may not have much choice in the matter unless I continue to hold-out for the perfect pair.


Baby Boo...etc.

I find myself more into Halloween this year.  Not costumes and candy per se, but more from a home decor perspective.  Fine.  And a little bit food-wise I guess.

Unfortunately mercury glass in general, and clearly this skull, do not photograph well.  If you don't believe me, check out the link above.  I will tell you in-person, this skull is pretty cute...if that's possible. Mercury glass is all the rage in home decor and can be pricey so I was pleased to find this gem for $10 at Kohl's.  It kind of reminds me of [Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty].  Perhaps a Halloween decoration that will stay on display past October 31st because skulls are quite en vogue?  Bonus points to those who can identify the book on which this skull sits.

Although technically not Halloween-themed, I have been loving this candle lately.  This candle has a nice balance of fruity, sweet and woodsy notes which, in my opinion, is the ideal fall combo.  Notes of pomegranate, red apple and balsam have left my house feeling cozy which is my ultimate goal come Fall. I rarely go back and buy a candle twice but I must say 'Autumn' is a worthy contender.  I also have my eye on [Cider Lane] so we shall see.

Last but not least brings me to my white pumpkin centerpiece:

I saw on Pinterest someone had decorated white pumpkins using puffy paint and I thought it might be fun to try.  I bought these minis at [Barn Owl Garden] for less than $5 and decided to leave them plain because I thought they were elegant in their simplicity.  I think these guys are called 'Baby Boos' which let's be honest is an amazing name.  You will also note in the background a $2.99 mercury glass votive candleholder and some faux black roses both found at Target.

As a sidenote, keeping with a fall theme, I would recommend the [Yoplait Light Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie yogurt] and [Philadelphia Cream Cheese Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice], both also available at Target.  Because you know I love food.


Pointed Toe Wedges

I hate to keep going all Forever21 but I cannot resist sharing these shoes.

click on link to buy

You see these wedges are very similar to a Pour La Victoire pair but for about $200 less.  I was obsessed with these shoes but could not find them in a F21 store so I broke down and ordered the aqua pair online.  So well worth it because not only are they super cute but they are also very comfortable.  I would have ordered these in the black too but they were sold out online.  Now that they are restocked, it is without a doubt the black pair will be ordered asap.

CC Confession:  I don't have a small foot and therefore generally avoid wedges because I think they make my feet look like Hermen Munster, but these wedges are the rare exception.  So sleek and chic.


CC Must Have: Urban Soiree Chicago

We interrupt this somewhat fashionable program to share with you a stylish, petite party-planning company that I have the pleasure of being good friends with it super talented creator.

Let me introduce the CC community to [Urban Soiree Chicago], a party-planning service dedicated to designing petite get-togethers.

Seriously my friend Elaine is so talented and innovative yet her creations remain authentic to you and your aesthetic.  She truly is a master at mixing materials in ways that are interesting; [think Etsy meets Anthropologie].  Elaine's background is in landscape architecture which means her florals and centerpieces are stunning but created in a way that feels homegrown.

[To view more Urban Soiree click here]

So exciting because[ Urban Soiree] is featured on [Daily Candy] today!  Please check-out the feature as well as Urban Soiree's [stunning gallery] to see how Urban Soiree can transform your petite parties into stylish, memorable get-togethers.

[Read the Daily Candy feature here.]

If you are like me and love to entertain but don't have the time or perhaps the creative mojo to craft a get-together that feels true to your spirit, I could not recommend [Urban Soiree Chicago] more.  Not to mention, the decor created for your get-together is a keepsake once your party is over.  The pieces can be used as favors, repurposed or integrated into your home as mini memories of a fabulous get-together, hosted by you.

CC Tip: Read Urban Soiree's [blog] for some homespun DIY ideas and creative inspiration.

All images courtesy of Urban Soiree Chicago.  

Edgy Glam

My favorite ensembles are ones that mix basics with glam pieces and accessories with a slight edge.

Edgy Glam

Edgy Glam by couturecheapskate1 featuring a chain necklace

This [sequin blazer] is a steal at under $75.  Pair it with a basic white tee, jeans and simple jewelry that will not compete with the sequins.  That being said, my favorite and beyond affordable [statement necklace] is a must for a touch of edge.  [Red pumps] and a [teal faux snakeskin clutch] are the perfect color complements to the pewter blazer.  A [smokey eye] and [hunter green nails] are all the drama you need to complete this edgy glam look.


CC Must Have: Full Pleather Skirt

Let's face it.  Faux leather is fancy talk for pleather.  And while I acknowledge there can be a wide spectrum of pleathers, ranging from tacky and cheap (read: garbage bag) to luxe and overpriced, I surprisingly have always been pleased with the quality of Forever21's faux leather.  I bought a pencil skirt there earlier in the season and could not believe how luxe it looked for under $20.

click link to buy online

The full skirt is the hot skirt silhouette for Fall and like most Falls, leather is a key component.  The reality is leather is a substantial investment in one's wardrobe.  For example this skirt would cost at minimum $500 if the real deal.  So why not invest in a faux version if there is no perceived difference in look and feel to free up more dollars? Besides the countless compliments you will receive, you will be pleased with the value this skirt packs as a modern basic in your wardrobe.

On trend.  Good value.  High style.

So pleather?  Faux leather?  Call it what you will.  Either way, I for one will be completely satisfied with my pleather pencil skirt and full skater skirt to the tune of less than $50 for two faux versatile bottoms.

CC Tip(s):  For taller ladies, size up.  You will want the length and the proportion will be a better fit. Not to mention F21 skirts tend to run short.  Go figure.  Also, these faux leather pieces sell out fast online and are barely available in-store so it is worth taking the chance and ordering online.


Lost & Found

Focusing on Fall pieces that will easily transition from warm weather to cool.

Recent Additions

Recent Additions by couturecheapskate1 featuring lace up boots

1.  [Old Navy Women's Boat Neck Sweater $25]  An affordable knock-off of this close to $300 J.Crew sweater.  //  2.  [Forever21 Sparkling Chain Fringe Necklace $12.80]  I've been wearing this non-stop; perfect mix of edgy and glam.  //  3.  [Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in Black/Brown $7.50 The best replacement I could find for my beloved Bobbi Brown eye pencil; softer than black.  //  4.  [Forever21 Colored Safari Print Shirt $19.80]  A lightweight blouse with hints of mint and magenta; pair with a pencil skirt.  //  5.  [Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick -- Kate Moss Collection $5]  Bold colors that make me feel glamorous.  //  6.  [Forever21 Stacked Ring Set $6.80]  Many inquiries on why I decided to splurge on such decadent jewels.  //  7.  [H&M pants $12.95]  Was on a mad hunt for these pants to pair with a black boyfriend blazer, white tee and these boots -->  //  8.  [DV by Dolce Vita 'Pilar' Wedge Booties $99] I actually bought these booties for a lot less at my new favorite shopping spot, Bloomingdale's Outlet.  //  9.  [Express 'Columnist' Pant in Cedar Green $59.90]  My favorite pant in Fall's hottest color.  


Workweek Chic On A Budget Pt.2

This workweek chic look is actually a compilation of previous CC posts.

First, it's part Workweek Chic On A Budget.

As I had previously mentioned, I was on the hunt for a blush blouse to pair with my Express red pants à la the Piperlime image above.

Enter my recent purchases from Forever21, a blush blouse and rhinestone bracelet.

Last, a black blazer to make the outfit workplace appropriate.

Workweek Chic Outfit #2

For a finishing touch, how about a little Hollywood Holiday Glam make-up toned down for a less festive face?

I love scoring a good deal such as an $18 blouse and $7 bracelet.  These affordable pieces can easily be incorporated into my wardrobe and add stylish touches without going overboard.  I am looking forward to wearing this blouse in the future as it was quite the hit.


I Will Gladly Go Any Of These Places...

I will gladly go any of these places...

...And it turns out I am also willing to travel to any Gap to find these tees.  

These Gap graphic tees are rockin' my world.  And man was I panicked when I went to my nearby store to find them almost all gone and none left in my size! Thank goodness there is a Gap on almost every corner so I have multiple options for searching.  Naturally I am having major anxiety over which city to support.


CC Stands For Colorblock Cardigan

Sometimes I feel like I pick on J.Crew.

It's not that I don't like J.Crew because I really do.  It's just than an average person like myself cannot continually afford to invest in their stylish classics...as tempting and practical as they may be.

Featherweight Cotton Cardigan
$72.50 at J.Crew  To Buy

Sometimes a basic cardigan needs some jazzin' up.  A colorblocked cardigan achieves just that: fashion and function together as one in knitwear.  This style cardigan is appropriate for a professional wardrobe while also being perfectly casual with jeans and a simple tank.

Colorblock Cardigan
$49.50 at The Limited  To Buy

The colors might be flipped on this cardigan but that is okay with me because I prefer more yellow anyway.  If you are looking for a cardigan with a bit more polish, this cardigan is perhaps more your speed.  It is also $25 less than the J.Crew version but I wonder if you are getting the same amount of versatility?

As much as I am always up for a savings, I feel a stronger attachment to the J.Crew version because I absolutely love the pink and navy combo.

This might be the rare occasion where I think it is worth spending a bit more money.  For the extra $30, the J.Crew cardigan is more versatile and can be worn across your entire wardrobe.  A colorblock cardigan in general packs value, especially one that can be worn dressy or casual.  

Score 1 for J.Crew in the CC books!


You Rasscal

I feel like I have committed to warm weather dressing.  There have been some questionable days where I have not worn tights when my legs had zero self-tanner.  It was shocking.

The reason I bring this up, is my transition to a warm weather wardrobe reminds me I purged most my sandals last year and now have a sandal opportunity.

Steve Madden 'Rasscal'
$89.95 at Steve Madden  To Buy

I have been looking for a flat or slight wedge sandal that somehow involved tan and black mixed together.  I love the coral addition as well.  The 1" wedge also adds a little lift compared to a normal flat.  These sandals are perfect because they will look good with shorts and dresses as well as my transitional denim.  The price tag is not too lofty but I still may wait to see if they get marked down.

There are some other interesting color combinations of this sandal including some that involve rope straps.  This combo is marked down to $63.  My second favorite option is the teal and white.


Mirror, Mirror

Scarf print is a big trend for Spring that I think will have some legs come Fall.

I have been on the hunt for something scarf print and affordable but have not had much luck.

Generally lack of success leads to me to make bad fashion decisions.

See Exhibit A.

Mirrored Scarf Print Skirt
$13.80 at Forever21  To Buy

I am pretty confident this skirt is going to be too short and too tight which is always a winning combination when you are referring to a heavily-printed bottom.  But for $14, I thought it was a worthwhile risk.  Stuff of this nature tends to sell out quickly online so I had to act fast.  All this considered, I think I am setting myself up for failure but am optimistic for a pleasant surprise.

I am also intrigued by the blouse they pair with the skirt....


Recent Forever21 Finds

As you well know, I spend a lot of time at Forever21.

One of the reasons I enjoy shopping Forever21 is their abundance of affordable transition pieces.

Most of their pieces work well with tights or bare legs; under a jacket or on its own.

Here are some of my recent finds:

Recent Forever21 Finds

  1. Pleated Polka Dot Dress $27.80 Once you get past the optical illusion, this dress is adorable.  Very retro but can be updated with a modern jacket.
  2. Sequin Front Top $19.80 Bronze sequins are of the four-season variety. Solid investment.
  3. Vibrant Tribal Bracelet $5.80  Awesome mixed with other bangles and all-black attire.
  4. Lacquered Pyramid Bracelet $6.80  Seriously looks so expensive and chic.
  5. Playful Polka Dot Blouse $17.80  My new favorite blouse to go with all my red bottoms.
  6. Ruffled Polka Dot Dress $14.80  Not so much a dress as a long top. Perfect with leggings and reminiscent of one of my favorite tops ever. 
Overall what I appreciate of these items is their ability to transition my wardrobe from soggy, chilly Spring into warmer weather.  I also apparently appreciate polka dots.


Celebrity Inspiration: Beautiful Bee


Beyonce is wearing one of my favorite color combinations: white and turquoise.  I love her feminine Marchesa gown mixed with chunky and edgy jewelry.  Obviously this look is beyond my budget given the necklace costs hundreds of thousands of dollars alone.  I am looking to get a whole look for around $100...single.  So using Beyonce's white ruffles, turquoise stones and silver studs as inspiration, here are some pieces under $100 to recreate the look for everyday life.

Celebrity Inspiration: Beautiful Bee


Tan + Orange: That's A Whopper

Besides a passion for clothes, accessories, shoes...etc., I also have an undying love for all things food-related.

Welcome to my newest obsession, Reese's Peanut Butter Whoppers.

I can only find these at Walgreen's.

Don't ask me to put into words why they are so amazing, they just are.  But if I had to, I would say they combine everything that is good about about a malt ball with peanut butter.  And I think we can agree that when you add peanut butter to anything, it is usually awesome.

Literally, you will not be able to stop eating them.  

As I chow down, I can't help but ponder how well the colors tan and orange work together.  If dressing like your favorite candy is your thing, then I would recommend heading to Gap because they are stocked with merchandise in various shades of orange and tan this Spring.

Of course I couldn't help adding my favorite sailboat top which is technically Old Navy but still part of the Gap family.

Peanut Butter Whoppers


Cute or Disaster?

I kind of love these blouses from Old Navy.

Buttoned 3/4-Sleeve Top
$22 at Old Navy  To Buy

Lightweight Camp Shirt
$24.94 at Old Navy  To Buy

Sailboat-Print 3/4 Sleeve Top
$25 at Old Navy  To Buy

Like all things Old Navy, you can never really completely understand an item until you see it in-person.  Of the three, I have only seen the sailboat print top and it is dang cute.  I didn't buy it at the time and am now feeling the burn since it is way more expensive online than when I saw it on the sale rack.  The other two could be super cute or disasters, let's be honest.  But it might be worth a try come percentage-off coupon.  I think they each have potential not only with denim but with the skirts I plan to wear to work all summer long.  


Battle of the $15 Hot Pink Pants

I want to invest in hot pink pants but I definitely do not want to spend a ton of money.

Twill Skinny Pants
$15.80 at Forever21  To Buy
(available in 7 other colors)

I tried this pair from Forever21 and loved the fabric and fit.  I even felt they ran a little big.  Obviously this is two feel-goods for the price of one: low price and self-esteem boost.  Plus, they were comfortable and ran long which is always a win.  I secretly also want to splurge on the peach pair too.

Bisou Bisou 5-Pocket Skinny Jeans
$15 at JCPenney  To Buy

I have always been happy with my JCPenney purchases.  In fact, JCP is the birthplace of my OG colored skinny jeans: the red skinny (RIP) and green skinny. Both pairs worked out well and at no point in time was I missing my more expensive jeans.  I have not tried these jeans myself but they are on sale for $15 during the month of April so it is worth a check-out to compare against the Forever21 twills.

Let the battle of the $15 hot pink pants begin.  Winner takes all.


J.Crew-Inspired Stripes and Lace

I have not been doing much shopping lately as I am trying to assess what my wardrobe "needs" are for Spring.

One thing I "need" is a blue and white striped blouse.

image via J.Crew catalog

True, this blouse from J.Crew is a worthwhile investment but I can't justify one blouse for $100+.  So, of course, the search is on for a less expensive alternative. At this point, the front-running blouse is this more relaxed version from you guessed it, Forever21.

Striped Woven Button Up
$13.80 at Forever21  To Buy

I realize this blouse is not as structured as the J.Crew version, however, that is why I prefer the Forever21 blouse.  I like the pintuck detail, 3/4 sleeve and adjustable tie-back.  I have a similar version of this blouse in white which I have worn a ton because I can dress it up or down...even use as a swimsuit cover-up.  

In general, I have always had good luck with my Forever21 blouses even with their extremely low cost.  There seems to be no major sacrifice in quality despite their more sheer fabrics.  Wear a cami.  Who cares for $14?

Plus, it looks awesome with colored jeans and sandals.

I have been holding onto this J.Crew image not only because I am wish-listing the blouse but also because I love the outfit as a whole.  The lace skirt is becoming somewhat of a wardrobe staple particularly around Spring when it gets updated in fun colors.  I already own a red pencil skirt so I do not feel compelled to buy a second in lace.  (For those of you looking, try this one or this one.)  But in true CC fashion, I have identified a lace skirt in hot pink that also feels like a  "need" in my Spring wardrobe.

Eyelet Mini Skirt
$59.50 at Loft Stores Only

Besides just thinking this is a cute and versatile skirt, it also reminds me of this pink eyelet J.Crew has been doing so much of this Spring.  My only concern with this skirt is that I don't think it will go with the blue and white striped blouse I like from Forever21.  So essentially I would be buying the J.Crew-inspired pieces but not be able to wear them together as pictured above.

I could be wrong and will give them a try together, but I may have to go to Plan B with the blouse despite the awesome price tag.


Spring Color: Mint

Mint is not only one of Spring's most fashionable colors, it also happens to be my new favorite hue.

The only downside is mint apparel and accessories are a bit of a challenge to locate at your local shopping mall.

Right now the two places with minty goodness in abundance are H&M and Topshop.

Spring Color: Mint

Of this set, I currently own the mint lace shell (exceptional value for $15) and I am for sure craving the mint cap-toe flats.  They are only $56 and bare a striking resemblance to this Stuart Weitzman pair.  The crystal studs are also intriguing for $18.  An easy touch of glamour and polish.  For a truly unique splurge, the Cambridge Satchel is amazing and limited-edition.

Truth be told, I think all of these pieces are pretty awesome.  Each piece combines high-design details and an effortless versatility that packs a stylish punch.  All worthy candidates waiting to update your Spring wardrobe.